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Coal Grove addressing depleted police force

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 11:20 PM EST
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COAL GROVE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Coal Grove village council addressed the issue of their staffless police department at their meeting Thursday night.

WSAZ first reported two weeks ago that every member of their police department, including the chief, resigned.

Several candidates to become the next Coal Grove police chief are scheduled to interview for the job Monday.

Council member Andy Holmes says the new chief could be named at the next village council meeting in a couple weeks, or a special meeting could be held to appoint the new chief sooner.

The village has gotten applications for the other vacant police officer positions as well, but they want to wait until the new chief is hired before filling those.

Those include three full-time and two part-time officers.

Holmes says they understand having nobody currently serving on the police department is troubling for residents.

“It’s not a position we desire to be in,” Holmes said. “It was kind of sprung on us. We’re working to fix that and rectify that and get those positions filled. We’ve certainly budgeted to fill those positions.”

The previous chief, Randy Lewis, sent a letter to council members a couple weeks ago claiming Mayor Gary Sherman made unethical requests and job threats. Lewis asked council to request the mayor to resign.

At Thursday night’s meeting, no such request was made.

The mayor has said the allegations against him are false.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department has been handling calls in Coal Grove during this period.

Holmes says the previous chief’s letter has been sent to the state ethics commission in Columbus for review to determine if anything illegal or unethical was done.

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